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As we should, we speak all the time about our First and Second Amendment rights. However, we have missed another Constitutional crisis: the Eighth Amendment. The text of the Eighth Amendment is simple and short:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

When people get bails they or their families have scant hope of paying (at least without high-interest loans); when fines become major hardships to individuals and families; when prison is common even for non-violent crime, and private for-profit companies run prisons ripe with drugs, gangs, and sexual assault, and nearly bereft of educational or other opportunities for betterment, I would say the Eighth Amendment has been violated. And everyone alive today who has suffered during their lifetimes from violations of the Eighth Amendment deserves reparations.

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